So one of the things that happened at the birthday party we attended last week was sort of interesting, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.
The party room was minimally decorated, but there were balloons–enough for all the kids and a few to spare. There were mostly pink, a few purple, and a few blue balloons, which made some sense in a “typical” kind of way, because there were mostly girls at the party, with only a handful of boys. So the party place put out the colors accordingly.
The Noodle started off with a blue balloon, like the other boys, but he let it go at one point to eat his cake. When he realized it was gone, he looked up at the ceiling filled with balloons, pointed, and said:
“Peek Bawoon Mommy! Peek Bawoon!!”
Yup, he wanted a pink balloon.
I wasn’t actually surprised, he’s been on a pink kick lately. He wants the pink vitamin, he wants the pink juice, he calls orange pink half the time. So it not only didn’t surprise me, I gladly handed him the pink balloon, which made his face light up in that awesome toddler way.
But that’s not really the interesting part of my story. The interesting part happened a few minutes later. See, one of the other moms saw the Noodle had a pink balloon. And she saw a blue balloon near her. And she brought the blue balloon over and offered it to the Noodle. “Does he want this one instead?”
The Daddy and I just chuckled, and said, “Oh no, he’s actually thrilled with the pink one. But thank you!”
Here’s the thing. I’m in no way upset at that other mom–it was a sweet gesture, and I really hope she didn’t feel like we were pushing her away. But I did wonder if she thought it was strange that my little boy wanted the pink balloon more than the blue one. And then I got a little annoyed with myself for wondering. Because I can see why the kid loves pink. In his eyes, it’s the color of his favorite vitamin, and the color of some of his favorite candy, and the color of juice. It’s pretty and bright and vibrant and fun. He hasn’t reached the stage where he thinks pink is for girls, blue is for boys. He likes pink for some things (and on some days) and he likes blue for others (and on others).
My kid has more than his fair share of blue stuff, of boy stuff, of the typical gender specific stuff that seems so inherent in everything kids do these days. He has cars and trucks, trains and rockets, and, yes, plenty of blue. But he also has a lot MORE gender neutral stuff–blocks and art supplies and stuffed animals and puzzles and books and green and white and yellow and orange and brown and red. And yes, pink. We try to provide him with stuff that will keep him entertained and will keep him occupied and will make him happy. If that’s blue cars, great. If that’s pink balloons, great.
But I always do wonder in social settings, what other people do/think. It bothers me that I wonder, but I do. So tell me, would you have let your little boy have a pink balloon? Would you look askance at a boy with a pink balloon?